Patching Oracle Database on Docker

I wrote this post which details creating an Oracle 19c Database docker image.

Following on from this post I will detail the steps required to patch and Oracle 19c Docker image. With most of my technology-related posts, they are written because I will require this information in the future so a blog post provides reference for my future self.

Running an Oracle 19c database in docker you are not able to patch the database in a traditional sense, you cannot hop into the container and patch it with opatch you need to create a “patched” image, thankfully Oracle on their GitHub (here) provide some shell scripts to make this task easier.

Note – You will need to have a My Oracle Support login and valid support agreement to download Oracle Database patches if you don’t have one of these your not going to get very far. Further, if you have chosen to use a “slim” Oracle database docker image you will likely run into problems, during the “sliming” down process folders are removed from the docker image that means when it comes to patching opatch will throw an error since some folders and directories don’t exist.

Clone the Oracle Docker images to your local machine with git (if you don’t already have them)

git clone

In this example, we will be patching a single instance 19c database. Head down into the SingleInstance folder then samples and applypatch.

cd ~/docker-images/OracleDatabase/SingleInstance/19.3.0/samples/applypatch

The scripts used in this example rely on the following directory structure:
      001 (patch directory)  (patch zip file)
      002 (optional)
      00N (optional, Nth patch directory)
      p6880880*.zip (optional, OPatch zip file)

patches: The working directory for patch installation.
001: The directory containing the patch zip file.
00N: The second, third, … directory containing the second, third, … patch zip file. This is useful if you want to install multiple patches at once. The script will go into each of these directories in the numbered order and apply the patches.
Important: It is up to the user to guarantee the patch order, if any.

Below is a working example where p31771877 is the latest 19c Critical Patch Update at the time of writing (Oct 2020) and p6880880 is the latest version of OPatch.

screenshot 2021 01 11 at 14.05.46

With the patches in place, we can now run to create the “new” patched docker image

./ -e -v 19.3.0 -p Oct2020
screenshot 2021 01 17 at 22.02.54
Sorry about the change in screenshots, my Macbook changes theme based on time of day and I wrote this blog post over about 8hrs so initial screens where taken in the morning while above was taken at night when I got back to my laptop.

It will take some time to patch the Oracle database with the patches as rebuild the docker image so go make yourself a coffee and come back in 25-30min. Once you return all going well you should be able to start your new patched docker image with the following command:

docker run --name "oracle19.9" -p 1521:1521 -p 5500:5500 -e ORACLE_PDB=orapdb1 -e ORACLE_PWD=topsecretpass -e ORACLE_MEM=3000 -v /opt/oracle/oradata -d oracle/database:19.3.0-ee-Oct2020

You can now login to your docker image using the below commands;

docker exec -it oracle19.9 /bin/bash

ps -ef |grep pmon

. oraenv

sqlplus / as sysdba

If you have any questions about running Oracle Database in Docker, the process of doing or are having any problems please get in touch and I can help.

5 responses to “Patching Oracle Database on Docker”

  1. Kenny avatar

    Hi, your post was great and now I have an Oracle db in docker, so thank you for your help.
    Do you by any chance know if I can import a backup into the db and create an image from that? When I try (commit, tag, push,run) docker reports the second container as unhealthy after 7 minutes and I’m not sure why.

    1. PazyP avatar

      Since the steps in the blog create a new DB from the Oracle install .zip files you could use RMAN to then restore your backed up DB into the “new” docker DB.

      You could easily script this and run it manually or call the script as the last step in the Dockerfile.

      docker cp would allow you to copy the RMAN backup files onto your docker container although you may need to tweak some of the disk sizes to be sure the docker container has enough space for your backup files, once the files are on you would just do a traditional RMAN restore as if you were cloning database A to B.

      1. Kenny avatar

        Thanks for taking the time to reply.
        I had been hoping to create an image from the container after my db restore because the restore is quite slow. And my end goal was to use docker run\rm commands to give myself a quick way to effectively reset my database to a known good state. (although I get the feeling i’m violating all kinds of conventions, it has been effective with my SQL ones)
        Previously i’d been using Hyper-V and checkpoints, but that has it’s own issues.
        Though looking into it, maybe I should take a look at docker data volumes.
        Thanks again for your help.

  2. Kenny avatar

    wait. the dockerfile creates the image….
    so my plan to create an image, create a container from that image, restore backup into the container and then create an image from that container to create future containers might be more complicated than needed.
    what you’ve suggested should work perfectly.

    1. PazyP avatar

      Yes the DockerFile is essentially just a list of commands run by docker to create your image, you could easily add rman commands to the Dockerfile but it would probably be cleaner to have your rman restore commands in a separate script and just have the dockerfile call that script.

      If you look at you see there is a bunch of pre-written scripts to install and create an oracle db based on a response file, the dockerFile is just calling these scripts that ultimately leaves you with a vanilla/empty 19.3 Oracle DB. Write an additional script to perform your RMAN restore and have the dockerfile call it as part of the image build the only hiccup you might have along the way is you may need to copy the RMAN backup files onto your docker container before calling the RMAN script but I assume you have access to the backup files so you can overcome this using docker cp

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